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Empire Notes"We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic. We never have been. I can't imagine why you'd even ask the question." Donald Rumsfeld, questioned by an al-Jazeera correspondent, April 29, 2003.
"No one can now doubt the word of America," George W. Bush, State of the Union, January 20, 2004.
A Blog by Rahul Mahajan
George W. Bush's most recent state of the union address didn't contain the caliber of bald-faced, smoking-gun lies that we have come to expect from him, like the "sixteen words" in the last one (about Iraq supposedly seeking uranium from "Africa"), but it was certainly replete with dishonesty and misrepresentation. Disclaimer: The author in no way undertakes to assure that the examples of dishonesty presented below constitute an exhaustive list.
Bush said: As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making
phrasing. “Delivering justice to the violent.” It
reminds me of
Bush’s epitaph on Uday and Qusay Hussein, that “their violent careers
justice” – a remark that prompted commentators all over the world to
Bush said: Americans are proving once again to be the hardest working people in the world.
Response: There are many hard-working people in the world. But it is indisputably true that Americans are working harder than before. And this administration last year spearheaded attempted legislation that, according to the Economic Policy Institute, would deprive eight million workers of their right to overtime pay. That legislation didn’t go through and the administration is now pushing a new plan that has similar problems. They are also advising employers on how to avoid paying overtime to employees who would qualify for it under the new legislation.
said: The first to see our determination were the Taliban, who made
truth: The 15 children killed in a single
Bush said: Since we last met in this chamber, combat forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Poland and other countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Hussein - and the people of Iraq are free. Having broken the Baathist regime, we face a remnant of violent Saddam supporters. Men who ran away from our troops in battle are now dispersed and attack from the shadows.
truth: There is no U.N. resolution calling for “regime change” in
said: Our forces are on the offensive, leading over 1,600 patrols a
and conducting an average of 180 raids every week. We are dealing with
Response: These 180 raids per week make enemies of at least 1000 Iraqi families every week. Instead of knocking on the door and asking for a suspect, as would be standard in police operations, they start by breaking down the door. Then they raid the house, violate people’s (especially women’s) privacy, throw people down on the ground and humiliate them, and, according to Iraqi human rights workers, in virtually every raid they steal money and jewelry. Numerous eyewitness accounts of cases where people were shot when their homes were raided indicate that soldiers don’t even offer them medical attention until after they have searched the house.
said: The work of building a new
said: Last January,
One of the laws of the “brutal man” involved extremely light sentences
so-called “honor killings.” The incidence of these killings has
the war, but the CPA has not changed this law, so there is basically no
prosecution of these crimes. It’s not because the CPA is shy about
laws with a stroke of his pen, Bremer bestowed the flat tax on
said: We are working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare
transition to full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June. As democracy
truth: The so-called “transfer of sovereignty” has been described
political analysts in
said: Nine months of intense negotiations involving the
truth: Because of the sanctions and inspections,
now doubts the threats of
let’s not even talk about the “word of
said: We are seeking all the facts - already the Kay report
dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and
significant amounts of equipment that
The truth: Bush’s weasel words, like “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities,” tell the whole story here. Kay’s Iraq Survey Group has found no weapons and Kay has apparently quit in disgust. In fact, the United States has concealed more about Iraq’s weapons programs from the U.N. than Iraq did – remember the 12,000-page report Iraq submitted on December 7, 2002, which was carefully pruned down to under 4000 pages before the administration allowed everyone to see it?
the most naked display of unilateral arrogance, even more so than the
said: From the beginning,
truth: Yes, the
said: I will send you a proposal to double the budget of the
Endowment for Democracy, and to focus its new work on the development
elections, free markets, free press and free labor unions in the
is not exactly what the NED does. In fact, it is
involved with the
subversion and manipulation of free elections and the replacement of
unions with corporate ones. In recent years, the NED manipulated the
elections in Yugoslavia with roughly $20 million, a huge amount by
standards and far more than the minuscule contributions from China that
such a huge furor in 1996 in the United States; and spent $877,000 to
coup plotters in Venezuela together, leading to the April 11, 2002,
coup against the democratically elected Hugo Chavez.
Response: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in December 2003, 1,000 new jobs were created. The unemployment rate fell because 309,000 people, discouraged by the almost total lack of prospects, gave up on searching for jobs. Over 2 million jobs have been lost under Bush.
Bush said: To protect the doctor-patient relationship, and keep good doctors doing good work, we must eliminate wasteful and frivolous medical lawsuits.
Taking advantage of the catastrophic state of health care in the
Bush said: So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough and to get rid of steroids now.
Response: Finally. The truly important issues. Imagine the courage involved in taking such a controversial stand.
said: This year, some 600,000 inmates will be released from prison
into society. We know from long experience that if they can't find
work, or a
home, or help, they are much more likely to commit more crimes and
prison. So tonight, I propose a four-year, $300 million Prisoner
Initiative to expand job training and placement services, to provide
transitional housing, and to help newly released prisoners get
including from faith-based groups.
is truly brilliant. I can’t remember the last time a
presidential candidate (except for Kucinich and Sharpton) actually
the genuine need to rehabilitate ex-prisoners. At one stroke, Bush
himself as far more liberal, and compassionate, than the Democratic
Just three little problems: First, he seems to want to use government
put ex-prisoners at the mercy of “faith-based groups.” I suppose that’s
to recruit for the Christian Coalition. Second, with the economy
like there’s no tomorrow, how exactly is he going to get work for
Third, does anyone really believe this will happen? Does anyone
Freedom Corps, inaugurated with such stirring words in the 2002 SOU
Rahul Mahajan is publisher of Empire Notes. His latest book, “Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond,” covers U.S. policy on Iraq, deceptions about weapons of mass destruction, the plans of the neoconservatives, and the face of the new Bush imperial policies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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